Vending machines allow Chinese tourists to pay via app
Three leading corporations – Kasikornbank, Sun108 and Alipay – have teamed up to develop vending machines to enable Chinese tourists in Thailand to conveniently buy food and beverages by scanning a QR code with their Alipay application.
At the initial stage, 24 machines have been installed at popular tourist sites and department stores, with an aim to expand the number to 500 machines within three years.
Supaneewan Chutrakul, KBank first senior vice president, said that users could just open the Alipay app on their smartphones to scan QR codes on the vending machines, allowing them to pay instantly.
The service aims to provide greater convenience for Chinese visitors who prefer to make such payments via Alipay – a third-party payment solution that links their bank or credit card account to a digital wallet, or e-Wallet.
This cooperation with SUN108 and Alipay reinforced KBank’s leadership in offering cross-border payment services, Supaneewan said.
KBank sees greater business opportunities in line with the considerable influx of Chinese visitors with strong purchasing power and a preference for Thai products and services. Additionally, this tourist segment is generally familiar with mobile payments.
Vathit Chokwatana, managing director of Sun108 Co Ltd, Thailand’s leading vending machine operator under the name Sun108Vending, said that there were about 10,000 vending machines operating in the Thai market. The company aims to promote the development of new payment systems to accommodate consumers’ changing lifestyles.
The 24 Alipay-compatible vending machines have been made available at tourist attractions including CentralPlaza Grand Rama 9, CentralPlaza WestGate, CentralPlaza Salaya and CentralFestival Pattaya Beach.
Pipavin Sodprasert, Thailand country manager of ANT Financial Services Group, an e-payment service provider via Alipay app, said that Chinese tourists visiting Thailand typically make payments via Alipay for shopping (27 per cent), accommodation (26 per cent), and food and beverages (18 per cent).
China is Thailand’s largest foreign tourist market, with the number of arrivals projected to top 9.8 million in 2017.